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US Report alleges Interference in Nigeria’s Elections

The State Department of the United States has questioned the credibility of the 2019 general elections conducted in Nigeria by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in its 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The US State Department stated that there was evidence military and security services intimidated voters, election officials and election observers. In the report, the State Department also listed concerns about the human rights situation in Nigeria. The report specifically outlined what appears to be growing incidences of human rights abuse in the country. Apart from questioning the credibility of the 2019 general elections, the report listed other violation of human rights in the country, as follows:

  • Arbitrary deprivation of life and other unlawful or politically motivated killings
  • Disappearance
  • Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments or punishment
  • Arbitrary Arrest or detention
  • Denial of Fair Public Trial
  • Arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family, home or correspondence
  • Abuses in internal conflict, etc

INEC’s spokesperson, Rotimi Oyekanmi discountenanced the claims against the credibility of the 2019 elections on the basis that the United States did not deploy observers to all States in Nigeria during the elections and as such, could not make such claims. INEC however, admitted military intervention in the Rivers State governorship election, which it responded to by suspending the election.

The State Department’s report appears however to corroborate reports of Nigerians and international observers who raised concern that the elections lacked credibility. The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, the major platform of tens of organisations that observed the elections, stated in its final report of the 2019 elections that, “It is our reasoned conclusion that the elections did not meet the credibility threshold based on the patterns of abuse of process and the consequent lack of integrity observed”.

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